Digital Travel Scams on the Rise

Finding a great holiday destination is the dream of many. A  good holiday in a great location sets the perfect environment to break away from the monotony of work or home, setting you free to experience the world in a different setup and soak in new experiences.

But swindlers have taken note of this, and now there is an alarming rise in the rate of digital travel scams. Fraudsters posing as elegant holiday destination dealers are conning their way to wealth by advertising charming but non-existent holiday destinations. Some pretend to be in a position to organize holidays but end up disappearing with travelers’ money.

From Instagram to Twitter and every other popular platform in-between, the swindlers are not missing out on any chance to make some undeserved bucks.

Unsuspecting travelers have been scammed by people posting sparkling hotels and exotic hideouts. These scammers will take your money, lie that they have paid all fees for accommodation and local movement. But you’ll be shocked to discover that no payment has been made to hotels, no tickets have been bought for transport and instead, your money has disappeared.

Once you finally discover the fraud, the scammers will lie to you that there was a technical problem with the bookings. Some will pretend to be sorry and promise to reimburse the money. But all these are pure lies to waste your time. They’ll never refund.

Some travel scammers are also patient. They will organize the first holiday for you smoothly, doing everything right and ensuring you have a good experience. This is the first step in hooking you in. They know that the initial amazing experience will make you trust them and will most likely give them your second holiday to manage. So they wait for you to book the next holiday, and convince you to make it bigger and longer than the first one. To get you all in, they promise hefty freebies and discounts. Once you are sold, you pay as usual but that is the last time you’ll hear from them. They’ll leave you stranded probably in a foreign place, your money gone.

If they realize you are not keen to book  another holiday with them, they force you to recommend them to friends, family and colleagues. And since they already gave you a superb experience, they know you will give raving reviews when referring others in your circle. Unfortunately all your recommendations will be conned and they will blame you.

So please be careful. You are better off booking a holiday destination through established travel agencies. And there are many of these both online and offline. Walk to an established agency in your town and ask about their packages. Learn about their history and counter check this with reviews online. Talk to people who may have used them. In other words the most critical step in your holiday travel preparations should be to do some thorough research on the agents you’ll be using to book and make all the payments. Alternatively, you can also do your bookings directly with the facilities, especially accommodation and transport as these two always consume the most money.

Meanwhile the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) warns travelers to be cautious about the holiday offers they find on social media. The organization particularly observes that many travelers seem to trust options posted on social media more than those found on websites.

Have you been scammed by a travel fraud? Please share your experiences with Scam Help. Let’s spread the word and caution other travelers.

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